Dry Lab Activity

Unit A - Chapter 2

Investigating Science 9

Inquiry Activity

Save That Soil

Skills Reference 2

Skills you Will Use

  • Using appropriate equipment and tools
  • Drawing conclusions


  • Goggles
  • Apron


In this lab you will be dealing with soil and water.

Use goggles to protect your eyes and an apron to protect your clothes.

Without plants to hold topsoil in place, erosion can cause considerable loss of valuable soil. Farmers must take this into account when deciding on what agricultural practices they will use for their land.

Certain practices, such as zero-tillage, maintain the roots of plants in place in the soil, thereby making erosion by wind and water less likely.

In this activity, you will compare the erosion of different soil types.


How are different types of land surfaces affected by rainfall?

Materials and Equipment

  • newspaper
  • two blocks
  • loose soil
  • water
  • two unbreakable pans
  • sod
  • materials to create simulated rain (such as paper cups with holes punched in the bottom)

Dry Lab

A "dry lab" activity includes collected data and/or a video solution for your convenience. You can simply watch the following video and use the provided data, or if you wish to perform this lab for yourself, follow the procedure steps 1 through 5 described in the video. The same steps are included in written form in the documents available for download on the bottom of this page.

Forming Conclusions

  1. Was there a difference in the amount of soil erosion in the two samples? Explain why.
  2. A student performing the procedure steps 1 through 5 noted that there was considerably more erosion in the loose soil than there was in the sod.

    Why did this difference in erosion occur? How might these results affect your recommendations to a farmer considering different types of agricultural practices?
  3. A student designed an experiment similar to the procedure steps 1 through 5, but instead of using water, she took the pans outside, and using two strong electric fans, aimed a strong wind at each of the samples. What would you expect she obtained for results, and how might those results affect your recommendations to a farmer considering different types of agricultural practices?